Finding Grants for Robotics Programs

Meeting the demands of 21st Century STEM Education can be thrilling, but it can be a challenge to find funding for your programs. Whether you are developing an early childhood robotics program with VEX 123 or VEX GO, or starting a competition team with VEX IQ or V5, there are grants available for you! As interest in STEM education has grown, so too have the funding opportunities.

This article covers the following:


US Funding Sources

Title Purpose Eligibility Resources
Federal Funding Sources
CARES Act: The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) I & II To provide emergency funding to K-12 schools, including including educational technology and summer learning and supplemental programs Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) can request funds from State Educational Agencies (SEAs). ESSER FAQs
ESSER I & II Fact Sheet
State Contacts for Information
Title 1: Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) To provide funds to ensure students meet state educational standards, including STEM education. LEAs can apply for funds, which are especially helpful for districts with low-income families. Guidance from Department of Education
Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) Funds can be used for:
  • The development of pre-college enrichment activities in science
  • Tutoring and enhancement of research skills in science education for students
  • Faculty training to develop specific science research or education skills
  • Curriculum development in STEM fields
  • Renovation of STEM labs/classrooms
  • Any other activities designed to address specific barriers to the entry of minorities into STEM disciplines
Institutions of Higher Education Non Profits Application Information
21st Century Community Learning Centers This program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. Awards are made to SEAs. Local education agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit organizations may apply to states for subgrants. Program Information State Contacts for Information
The National Science Foundation (NSF) This program supports both students and faculty to make studying and teaching STEM accessible. NSF offers grants to schools across 24 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Search ‘STEM’ on the NSF Funding page to find funding sources for your program. Proposals and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
Grants.gov Grants.gov is a resource for finding grants offered through government agencies including the National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Commerce, and more. Search ‘STEM’ in the Search Grants page to access a wealth of grant applicant resources. Grant Eligibility
How to Apply For Grants
Foundation Funding Sources
Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in STEM fields by providing significant initial equipment and operational support for regional partnerships and/or school districts committed to full implementation of sustainable VEX Robotics Competition teams in a given geographic area. These grants are intended for schools and organizations that are not currently participating in one of our programs: VEX IQ Challenge, VEX Robotics Competition (VRC), and VEX U. VEX IQ Challenge grants are for elementary and middle schools (grades 3-8). VRC grants are for middle and high schools (grades 6-12). Grants Page
Applying for a Team Grant
NEA Foundation STEM Grants
  • Growing the number of existing promising STEM practices within the district
  • Increasing the number of high-need students receiving a high-quality STEM education
  • Emphasizing cross-curricular, project-based learning
  • Giving educators a key role in designing and implementing district-wide STEM initiatives and curriculum
  • Developing partnerships with key members of the community and work with partners to expand STEM activities within and beyond the district
NEA Foundation STEM Grants provide resources for districts to build and expand their STEM programs and professional learning for educators to lead them well. About NEA Grants Grant Resources
STEMgrants.com STEMgrants.com provides a free guide to STEM grants that is organized by deadline dates. This list is kept up-to-date and includes grants with an ‘open’ or ‘rolling’ deadline. Varies by grant STEM Grants for K-12 and Nonprofits

There are many funding opportunities available, and each will have their own requirements. No matter which funding option is the best fit, knowing the value of VEX robotics for your classroom will be beneficial to your application.

  • STEM Skills and More
    • In addition to STEM topics, students will engage in teamwork, creativity, and problem solving.
  • Flexible for Teaching and Learning
    • VEX STEM labs are flexible for in class, after school, and online learning. With STEM Labs designed to be completed within one class period and aligned to standards, teachers can easily work the STEM Labs into their lesson.
  • Complete Curriculum, Always Free
    • Each VEX product comes with instructional STEM Labs designed to help students make the most of their robotics experience. STEM Labs are aligned to standards, and teacher resources and guidance is provided for each Lab. STEM Labs are always free.
  • Hands-On, from Day One
    • Students have hands-on experience constructing robots from day one. Students will learn how to follow build instructions, work with teams, and integrate spatial reasoning skills into every build.
  • Start Coding
    • Students of all ages can learn to code with VEXcode. Whether using block-based or text-based coding, VEXcode is easy to use on any device. Students will learn to code and watch their robots come to life.

A lot goes into grant applications, and we’re here to help the process. You can make use of the following documents to get tips on grant writing, specific information on each VEX product, and editable letters to help you get started. Read through the Grant Writing Guidance document, and then get started!

Note: If you are interested in requesting Emergency funding through the CARES ESSER Act, here is an CARES Act Funds Request Letter and state contact information.

Note: You can update any of these google docs, for more information on how, see here.


UK Foundation Funding Sources

Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation

The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in STEM fields by providing significant initial equipment and operational support for regional partnerships and/or Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) committed to full implementation of sustainable VEX Robotics Competition teams in a given geographic area.

There are two main types of grants that are available through the REC: the VEX IQ Challenge (VIQC) Grants and VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) Grants. Visit the Grants page of the REC website, and select the pill button to toggle between the VIQC and VRC to see the many grants that are offered in these areas.

You can also contact your Regional Support Manager (RSM) with any questions and for assistance on which grant(s) would be the best fit for your organisation and goals. Select your location on the map on the Robot Events page to contact your RSM.


UK National Funding Sources

Institute of Physics (IOP)

The School Grants Scheme from the IOP offers grants of up to £600 for projects, events and activities that promote a greater interest in physics and engineering in young people. Schools, colleges or home school groups based in the UK and Ireland can apply. There are three deadlines per academic year so funding is available all year ‘round.

The Royal Society

Partnership Grants of up to £3,000 are available to UK schools and colleges to carry out investigative STEM research projects in their classrooms in partnership with a STEM professional from academia or industry. The grants are designed to help schools and colleges purchase equipment to run these projects. The scheme is open to both primary and secondary schools, including sixth form colleges.
The grants are awarded annually so check the dates for submissions.

The Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET) and Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)

The Engineering Education Grant Scheme supports UK-based educational projects that increase engineering knowledge among young people aged 4-19. It also supports projects that improve wider understanding of engineering. Any organisation that delivers UK-based educational activities, including schools, youth groups, IET or IMechE members and STEM organisations can apply. However, organisations that are directly funded by IET or IMechE may not be eligible. In addition, any activities or projects receiving any IET or IMechE funding are ineligible for submission.

There are two levels of funding available. Awards of up to £5,000 (inclusive of any applicable VAT) are available for standard applications, and a small number of awards of up to £15,000 are available each year for projects that aim to make a bigger impact. There are two rounds of funding each year.

British Science Association

British Science Week Grants are available through two schemes, one for school groups and one for community groups. The deadline for applications is late in the year for the following years festival. The requirements vary depending on the type of grant being applied for.

Institute of Mathematics (IOM)

The Education Grant Scheme is available to provide financial support towards the costs of running an educational activity relating to mathematics. The aim of the Education Grants Scheme is to enable organisations to pilot new ideas, approaches and practices or undertake collaborative activities that would not be possible under existing funding schemes. Grants are provided annually so please check dates for submissions.

Holmes Hines Memorial Fund

Small awards are available to help individuals or organisations with any scientific or engineering based activities where public funds are not available. For example, education camps, themed weeks, clubs and conferences.

CREST Awards Support

If registration and support costs are a barrier to running CREST, grants of up to £600 are now available to support and enable schools and organisations to run CREST Awards with young people underrepresented in STEM.

Applicants can request up to £600 total towards running CREST awards, this breaks down into two categories:

  • Up to £300 to cover CREST registration fees (you can find registration costs here)
  • Up to £300 to spend on support costs for running the Awards, such as CPD for school staff, supply teacher cover, CREST link schemes or a delivery partner, consumables or equipment.

Please check eligibility and selection criteria.


The Royal Institution (RI)

Grants of £500 are offered annually, for schools to experience a science, technology, engineering or mathematics activity selected from the STEM Directory. This scheme is generously supported by the Clothworkers’ Foundation and the L.G. Harris Trust.

Teachers can apply for grants to cover £500 towards an activity selected from the STEM Directory. These activities can range from shows and talks, to workshops and team-based challenges, they enrich or go beyond the curriculum and often use resources that are not readily available to schools.

This £500 can be used to cover fees and expenses of the activity provider as well as travel expenses incurred by the school. Any other expenses incurred by the school are not covered by the grant.

Information on the VEX IQ Challenge grants can be found here.

Information on the VEX Robotics Competition grants can be found here.

Further Information

If you have any questions about VEX products or need supplementary information for your grant proposals, please contact us at eusales@vex.com.

All grant information is correct at time of publication, but the nature of grants is always changing and while we endeavour to keep this updated we cannot guarantee information will be current on external links.